Every industry faces their own challenges. We have seen in the last year that some fields, such as the healthcare industry, can be extremely dangerous for front line workers. The trucking industry is no different. There are several key hazards that every trucking company and driver should be aware of in order to counteract the potential hazard.
After years of study and research, here are the top trucking industry hazards and how you can prevent them from occurring in your company or to your rig.
According to research completed in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck driving is considered one of the deadliest occupations in the United States. This is according to the census numbers of 2016 and traffic accidents have increased since that time.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a total of 4,136 people died in large truck crashes in 2018. Sixteen percent of these deaths were truck occupants, 67 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 31 percent higher in 2018 than in 2009, when it was the lowest it has been since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975. The number of truck occupants who died was 51 percent higher than in 2009.
Life on the road does not allow for regular exercise, eating healthy, or a chance to have scheduled doctors appointments. These are real hazards to the men and women who keep our country’s supply chain going strong.
To avoid life threatening diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and muscular skeletal issues, many drivers try to follow some simple suggestions. These include trying to get a quick stretch or walk in at stops, eating as many healthy items as you can including fruits and veggies while on the road, and making sure to schedule doctors appointments for off-duty hours when you can have regular assessments on your physical health.
Sitting in the cab of a truck for hours on end, day-after-day, can lead to both joint and muscle injuries. Many drivers find it difficult to fit in time to get exercise but even ten-to-fifteen minutes of stretching daily (either in morning upon waking or at night before bed) to make sure your muscles and joints are seeing some movement, can be helpful. Check out our blog next week where we will take a deep dive into ergonomic issues and preventions.
Even though truck drivers are legally required to rest at regular intervals, resting does not always mean they are able to fall into a deep sleep. Sleep issues are a growing problem for long haul drivers who find themselves in a different city night after night.
Some suggestions for combating insomnia or sleep issues include: avoiding technology before bed, talking with family members or loved ones to relieve stress, light exercise, getting evaluated for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, and trying to follow a simple routine right before bed to signal the sleep response in your body.
For more stats and suggestions on the hazards of trucking, check out the articles on the Bureau of Labor Statistics and see our site for more information.